Philippine Self-Help Foundation

9th March 2015. Alfreda and her mother Dolores have moved into the PSHF office from her brother’s house. Only a week ago she was in the hospital due to difficulties in breathing; she was very thin and lethargic. When she left the hospital, it was decided that she should stay in her brother’s house in Bacolod as she was still not well enough to go to her far-away village in Ma-ao. However in her brother’s house, there are many people and the place is cramped and congested. In the office, we have one room vacant and so we decided that it would be best for her to stay in the office to convalesce.

12th March 2015. We are beginning get accustomed to Alfreda’s terrible coughing. Meanwhile the office is becoming more pleasant and cleaner as Dolores has begun cleaning the windows and mopping and polishing the floor. As for the felines, they did not seem to mind having new people in the office because Dolores strokes them and feeds them.

26th March 2015. Sherry introduced the iPad to Alfreda and taught her how to use it. She (Alfreda) had a big smile on her face when a video started to unfold on the screen.

30th March. Alfreda flashes me a smile as she plods her way to the bathroom to have a shower. Three weeks ago, when she and her mother Dolores moved in here, she was still unable to walk.

4th April 2015. Black Saturday. It was a quiet weekend but in the office, Dolores was in a frenzy as Alfreda vomited and had LBM. In the afternoon, she decided to bring Alfreda to the hospital. Boboy, her brother, carried her to a tricycle which would take them to the hospital. She stayed there for four days.

22nd April 2015. The vomiting happened again and so Dolores took Alfreda to the hospital to be checked up. The doctor said that she had to be admitted as the vomiting could indicate a brain problem. It turned out to be acute gastritis as she had been eating sour mangoes and seaweed salad with vinegar. She stayed at the hospital for two nights this time.

9th May 2015. Alfreda jives with a disco song on the radio. Only two months ago, she was an invalid who could neither talk nor walk.

31st May. So far, so good. Dolores and I are thankful that the month of May has gone by with nothing untoward happening to Alfreda.

Our relationship with the Roylan family, Alfreda in particular, dates back to November 2004 when PSHF director Richard Foster came across her in at the paediatric ward of the provincial hospital. He was most concerned because Alfreda vomited any food she ate. She was skin and bones, very weak and looked much older than her chronological age of 9 years old. She could not talk, walk nor sit on her own and so had to be carried all the time. It was an almost hopeless situation but thankfully our prayers and medical treatment worked. The PSHF gave full support for her medication and food.

Nine years later in March 2013, Alfreda finished her elementary schooling and Richard Foster was there to witness this significant event. Until last year, she had faced life with great enthusiasm. She even landed a job in a small candy factory where she wrapped milk candies and received 2,000 pesos in monthly salary.

Sadly in March this year Alfreda had a stroke which paralyzed her right limbs. Doctors at the provincial hospital in Bacolod diagnosed her with congestive heart failure secondary to valvular heart disease. She has maintenance medication for this. Meanwhile she is gradually regaining the strength in her right arm and leg and Dolores has been patient and determined to help her daughter do her physical excercises. In a most recent checkup, the doctor said that Alfreda was doing generally well; but she must watch her diet, i. e., her intake of fat and salt and limit her fluid intake to one liter a day. She will also need further physical therapy to bring life back to her paralyzed limbs. The PSHF is committed to making Alfreda’s life as normal as can be and her family, especially her mother, are most grateful for this.

Bernadette G. Togado

PSHF Bacolod

June 2015

Alfreda, seated 2nd from left, in her brother’s house, surrounded by her family and friends. Holding the lamp is Boboy, her older brother. 

Alfreda with her friend Ruffa when they were children. They have remained the best of friends up to this day.

Alfreda in the provincial hospital, when PSHF founder Richard Foster, first saw her. (Nov 2004)